Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Gose is Loose!!!

I have been excited about this beer ever since I read an article about it in Brew Your Own magazine toward the end of last years hockey season.  Something intrigued me about it from the very start.  What couldn't be loved about a salty, sour, spicy beer, and whats more, it's name lent itself perfectly to somebody who's a Buffalo Sabres fan.  The Gose is Loose was born.

The Gose is a northern German beer brewed in Leipzig.  Just like most other beers, the location of the played a huge role in its development.  The natural salinity in the water of this part of Germany gives the beer its distinct dry, salty taste, and the beer was originally spontaneously fermented giving it the sour flavor.  Today these same qualities can be mimicked with sea salt and acidified malt.  As for the corriander in the beer, who knows where that came from.  I could go ahead and say that it was partially from being influenced by some Belgian beers, but I wouldn't know for sure.

This is going to be a long month before I am able to drink this beer, and even longer until hockey season starts...


And of course, I had to run out of airlocks and didn't realize it until it was too late:

Primary: The Gose is Loose, Harvest Ale, Wild Yeast Test Batch
Secondary: Wildflower Mead
Carbonating: Ginger Ale
Total for 2011: 78 Gallons

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy...

Just because I haven't posted in a while does not mean that things have been slow here at Lake Effect Brewing.  I have a couple more batches under my belt in the past couple of weeks, I have successfully captured and brewed a batch of beer with wild yeast, and I had a great hop harvest, all of which I plan on detailing in future blog posts.  For now, I just wanted to throw out a quick plug for a couple of things and tomorrow when I brew my very first sour beer (maybe my second, I still have not tasted my wild yeast ale) I plan on doing a full sized post.

The first thing I want to mention is the Basic Brewing Logbook.  I picked this up a couple of weeks ago and I could not be more pleased.  I love this book.  Even though I use Beer Tools Pro, this serves as an excellent hard copy for finalized recipes for the year.  With its agenda in the first few pages, you are able to keep track of all of the dates for your primary, secondary, lagering, and anything else you could possibly want, and with room for 50 batches, even I would have to try to fill it up.  For $13, you can't go wrong.

The second, and most important part of this post is a startup brewery in Austin, TX that needs your help.  My brother in law's boss, the owner of Austin Homebrew Supply, is in the process of starting up a microbrewery and they need some help purchasing some more equipment.  They have set up a Kick Starter page where you can pledge to donate money to their cause.  Don't worry though, you won't be just giving someone a handout, for your donation, you can get anything from a sticker to being able to help create a featured beer as well as helping to name it.  So, unbutton your change purses and help a worthy cause of fellow homebrewers to pursue their dream.

On Deck: The Gose is Loose
Primary: Wild Yeast Test Batch, Harvest Ale
Secondary: Wildflower Mead
Carbonating: Ginger Ale
Total for 2011: 76 Gallons

Monday, August 8, 2011

2-A German Pilsner Introduction

The history of the German Pilsner is sort of a bizarre one that has its roots in the Czech Pilsner, which has its roots in the German Helles. Go figure, the Germans were trying to copy the Czech that had been based off of their own creation.  The only real difference between these two styles is the use of regional ingredients.  Both are light, crisp, and malty beers, but the big variations come from the yeast, color from the pilsner grains, and hops used.

The recipe formulation is basic on this beer since it is traditionally a single grain beer, German Pilsner malt.  The hops that I used here are Tettnanger.  They are a bit more aromatic and less spicy than the Saaz used in the Czech Pilsner.  I also used a Munich lager yeast for this beer that provides a bit of a drier, more highly attenuated lager beer.

The baseline beers that I am going to be using for this comparison have to be readily available around me, and as much as I would love to use Augustiner Pils as one of them, it is not going to happen.  I plan on using Wasteiner and Jever Pils.  After all, once in Germany we had an older gentleman tell us that Jever Pils was the only beer that he would drink, and being from Munich, that had to say something.

Primary: Wildflower Mead
Secondary: German Pilsner
Carbonating: Lite American Lager, Ginger Ale 

Total for 2011: 70 Gallons

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mead Day 2011

I know, I know, I'm working on my BJCP Challenge, but I couldn't pass up and excuse to try something different.  This one came in the form of Mead Day 2011 on August 6th.  I have only tried to make one mead in the past, but it didn't turn out that well since it was allowed to be exposed to a bit too much oxygen, and ended up well, oxidizing, also I was using store bought honey which does not have a track record for producing great mead.  Instead of just trying to wing it again, I decided I better go the safe route and I picked up The Compleat Meadmaker : Home Production of Honey Wine From Your First Batch to Award-winning Fruit and Herb Variations by Ken Schramm.  Although I didn't make it through the whole book by the time this mead day came around, I made it through most of the important basic parts.

I basically used the Medium Sweet Orange Blossom Mead on page 25, but I adjusted it for the honey that I bought on, 12 lbs of raw wild flower honey, and I decided to go for the no heat method since I did not want to lose any of the honey aromas.  eBeeHoney seems like an excellent source for my mead honeys, they have reasonable prices, have quite the variety of honeys and are relatively close, so shipping costs are not too unreasonable.

Here's the recipe that I used since when I taste and review this recipe, it may be at least six months from now.

1 Gallon of Wildflower Honey (12 lbs)
4 Gallons of Filtered Water
2 Tbsp Yeast Nutrient
1 Tbsp Yeast Energizer
2 Packets Lavalin K1-V1116 - INRA - Montpellier

Using the no heat method, I just mixed all of these things together in one of my fermentation buckets and hooked up my aquarium pump to it.  I'm going to let the pump keep going until Sunday afternoon since in many places I have read that it is advantageous to continually aerate the must for a couple days after pitching.  After primary and secondary have been completed, I plan on racking the mead onto toasted French oak chips for a week or so in order to infuse some of the vanillins and tannins from the wood and give the mead much more depth.

Although this was a fun departure from my strict brewing schedule I'm quite excited to get back to my BJCP challenge.  Next up, Vienna Lager...

Primary: German Pilsner, Wildflower Mead
Secondary: Lite American Lager, Ginger Ale 

Total for 2011: 65 Gallons